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Hit Home Runs (With Shawn Moren) | E2

  • Episode 2
  • 'People make it possible' Podcast

    ‘People make it possible’ is a career-growth podcast based on inspiring stories of successful business leaders for executives and individuals looking to invest in themselves. Unlike other podcasts in the space, Chris Dardis (President of Interim Solutions at Versique) challenges the assumptions behind climbing the “traditional” corporate ladder, delving into the pivotal stories that shape us all in our unique journeys.

    Chris Dardis | President, Interim Solutions

    Chris Dardis has more than 19 years of combined experience within corporate HR leadership positions and the executive search and consulting industry. This experience provides Chris with the unique ability to truly understand his clients’ human capital needs and offer strategic customized solutions. Chris’s HR network in the Twin Cities is second-to-none and provide value to his candidates and clients.

    Chris understands that, as baby boomers retire and millennial’s enter the workforce, there’s no denying that things are changing. As the world around us progresses, employers expect a set of work competencies that are aligned with the skill demands of the 21st century. Whether your organization is looking for additional insight, an outside eye, or someone to enhance processes and boost productivity, Chris has a deep understanding of the role HR plays in the recruiting process and what it takes for HR departments to be successful both today and tomorrow.

    Podcast Transcription

    Chris Dardis: 

    Everyone has a story that’s shaped them. People make it possible is a career growth podcast focused on inspiring stories from successful business leaders. This podcast is meant for executives and professionals looking to invest in themselves. In this podcast, we will challenge the assumptions behind climbing the traditional corporate ladder and explore pivotal stories that shape us all in our unique journeys. Let’s explore why it’s people who make it past. Hi everyone. I’m Chris and welcome to our very first episode. I’m excited today. We are joined by an incredible guest. My friend, Kendall Harrell Kendall was the chief people officer at caribou Kendall.

    Kendall Herrall: 

    Thank you, Chris. I’m incredibly honored. Happy to be here.

    Chris Dardis: 

    This is going to be a lot of fun. So Kendra, before we kind of get into it and explain how we know each other. Tell us a little bit about your role at caribou coffee is the chief people. Officer give us 30 seconds.

    Kendall Herrall: 

    Well, very simply Chris, I’m, I’m responsible for just creating an environment where great people can come and do great work. And so I have the traditional HR functions that report to me that, you would normally see. and that would also include, learning and development loss prevention. Our in is in that, is in that group as well. So pretty broad scope of responsibilities, but all really focused around that. That original kind of statement around great people and having a great place to work.

    Chris Dardis: 

    Love it. Okay. Well, so Kendall, you, and I go way back, we go back about 15 years where our friendship was forged on the fields of youth baseball as we were coaching our sons and everything like

    Kendall Herrall: 

    Yeah. no doubt, no doubt.

    Chris Dardis: 

    And then the universe keeps bringing us together side the twins game yesterday.

    Kendall Herrall: 

    Well, always fun to go to a twins game. They are a blast to watch.

    Chris Dardis: 

    Amen. Well, good. So Ken O’Hara, you’re the chief people officer now, but as we, roll back time a little bit and think about when you were growing up, you grew up in Iowa, is that correct?

    Kendall Herrall: 

    Yes. Yep. Yep. Des Moines, Iowa, and actually a south suburb of Des Moines, Indianola where Simpson college is a little college town, but yeah, that’s where I spent most of my formative years, I guess, as they would say.

    Chris Dardis: 

    Very good. And as a little buddy, did you want to get into HR?

    Kendall Herrall: 

    I don’t even know what HR was. Actually, I probably wouldn’t. I probably would have been, it would’ve been a problem if I did know what HR? was when I was drawing up. But no, I, like every kid, you have your big dreams of being a professional athlete or something. And once I knew that clearly that wasn’t gonna be the path. I didn’t know what exactly what I wanted to do. I, but I didn’t know. I want to be around athletics, and I just it didn’t take very long before I thought maybe I’d want to be a doctor. And specifically like an orthopedic surgeon was what I thought my, my lot in life was going to be.

    Chris Dardis: 

    Okay. And w what was driving that? It was, it was that, that love of sports.

    Kendall Herrall: 

    Yeah, absolutely. I I, unfortunately, I, I had a couple of injuries when I was younger and well, I never had to have surgery. I was just completely fascinated by physical therapists and the work that the trainers did and the the human body, just a pretty incredible thing. When you really look at how it’s Amazing. Like it can, it can perform. And I just, I thought, gosh, it would just be incredibly rewarding to, to do that. Plus, the, the mystique of being a physician, that was absolutely what attracted me to it.

    Chris Dardis: 

    Now when you, when you would go to your parents and say like, you know what, I think I want to get into orthopedic surgery. I mean, was that something that they supported or talk to me about that?

    Kendall Herrall: 

    Yeah. My parents were, they just, they didn’t care what I was going to do. They just, they were very much about education and really focused on me having a plan. For, how I was going to how was it going to contribute to the society? I was going to raise a support, a family how I would just, contribute and however that was going to come to life, they they, they didn’t really steer me in any direction. They were very much about just have options, give yourself, give yourself options, and you, you limit that when when you don’t look to to educate yourself and it, while college was definitely a, a goal. I think that I could’ve, I could’ve taken any path to, to educate myself, even if that, if that meant learning a trade or they would’ve completely supported that as long as it was part of a.

    Chris Dardis: 

    Yeah. And what did they do as professionals?

    Kendall Herrall: 

    Well, my dad was in sales for most of his career. And then he then he ended up taking up photography as a, which was a hobby at the time. He ended up taking this passion and love for it. And building a little, little business out of it. He was with Motorola and got laid off at, and this was in the eighties and well, that was served as an opportunity for him to pursue a passion of his is so, that’s what he did. And then my mom was she worked 35, 36 years at ups.

    Chris Dardis: 

    Wow. So, yeah. And so when, when you think about their journeys and the lessons, we are trying to teach our children as well. What’s something that you took from either both of them.

    Kendall Herrall: 

    For both of them, it was really about not necessarily, I don’t know, be independent is the right word. But realizing how, how you were going to earn a living, and. No matter what your experience is, you had, and, I think you always want for each generation to be able to, to provide more options than the previous generations. And so I think the thing that we carried forward, my wife and I was, was, I really didn’t care where you, where your passions lie, but when you identify we’re going to. As much as we possibly can. So if that means, helping you whether it’s going to camps or, or taking summer classes or, like my, my oldest. Very much into computers and technology. And, we found these technology camps for him when he was younger and just let him immerse himself in how to build and create video games. And he was doing that at like 8, 9, 10 years old. And so I didn’t want to have my, my kids be. on a job per se, but rather how do I figure out my passions and either have a career that’s going to allow me to bring those passions to my career or have a career that’s going to allow me the means and the ability to, explore those passions through recreation or otherwise. So we just with the door wide open for our kids. But really the focus was let’s you got to find what you love

    Chris Dardis: 

    Yeah.

    Kendall Herrall: 

    and it may take time.

    Chris Dardis: 

    talked about how your parents were really focused on education for you. And clearly you, you have that sort of interest in your kids as well. You mentioned your older are they, they’re both through college right now.

    Kendall Herrall: 

    So one’s graduated and he a tax paying adult, which is fantastic. And then the youngest is just finished his sophomore year at St. John’s.

    Chris Dardis: 

    That was a leading question because I I’m a Johnny as well, then I wanted to shout out. Yeah, that’s good. Awesome.

    Kendall Herrall: 

    Got to give a nod to the Johnny’s right.

    Chris Dardis: 

    That’s great. And so you feel like as, as they were growing up, that was an important piece that you tried to pass on to them as well.

    Kendall Herrall: 

    Yeah, absolutely. My, my mother, the highest level of education that she completed was, or her associates degree, but that helped her have a 36 year career at ups. And my father was he, he went to. Morehouse for one year. And they dropped out after his freshman year to join the military the air force specifically. And, my grandmother was not very happy with. But he, it, despite the fact that he was in the Vietnam war and all of the troubles that came with that he would even to up until the day pass, he would say that the lessons that he learned in the military and some of the skills that he was able to, to build and apply quickly in the military. I mean, it was it was everything.

    Chris Dardis: 

    So you talk about finding that passion or finding a job that allows you to afford your passion. As you think about your career, you and I met when you were at. Lifetime fitness. So that, that, that gets me thinking about, your love for sports and athletics. And now somehow you parlayed that passion into a role. Talk to me a little bit about your time at lifetime and that blend of passion and work.

    Kendall Herrall: 

    Yeah. Lifetime was very instrumental in my career and it’s where I grew up basically professionally I. I originally walked into a lifetime fitness just to find a place to work out. And I was in there for all of eight minutes before I realized that, I mean, what an incredible environment at the time, it was 1996, maybe 5 96. And I I asked one of the sales reps and said, I think I’d like to work here. Like, what what kind of jobs are here? And, and I’d never considered personal training really, as it, as a career. But I jumped into personal training right away. It was nothing like I thought it was. But I had a lot of great mentors that helped me figure it out. And I just, I kind of, I guess, progressed through the ranks. They’re fairly, fairly quickly.

    Chris Dardis: 

    And so you went from a personal trainer into the human resource society.

    Kendall Herrall: 

    Yeah. Yeah. My, my first kind of, I guess my transition job was in training and development. So I was doing a lot of like, new hire training and sales training and management, training productivity trees, like a lot of content that was centered around the group called lifetime university. And I had an incredible mentor there that wanted to build out a new recruiting function and asked me if I wanted to do it. And I said, well, Andrew, I don’t really know anything about it, but he said, you’re smart. You’ll figure it out. And that’s really where I started to get into seeing HR. And there’s a place where I might have some affinity and it could be a fun career for me.

    Chris Dardis: 

    Oh, wow. So you did have somebody, you did have that mentor. There was that moment when they tapped you on the shoulder.

    Kendall Herrall: 

    Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I didn’t. I didn’t seek it out. We were just having a career conversation, every once in a while I’d pop my head in his door and he’d ask me what I’m up to. And this particular time he asked me about my goals and I told him something to the effect of wasn’t sure exactly what, what the next step was going to be. But I knew that I wanted to build something and I wanted to effect an impact. A lot of people it was what I loved most about, going back to your personal training was just the opportunity to help someone achieve something. And he, he thought recruiting might be an interesting way to apply that aspiration or at least achieve that aspiration then It was littler. That was probably the pivotal moment in my career that sent me on a pretty awesome track.

    Chris Dardis: 

    Yeah, no kidding. So you take a look at where you’re at today at caribou coffee. And when you first came into the HR world, was there something that you’ve done in your career to really invest yourself to to achieve the level that you’re at right now?

    Kendall Herrall: 

    I think that one, one thing that I, that I did, it was really a gamble, as I had always thought that I would either get my MBA or do some pec masters program or organizational leadership or something like that. And when I was with lifetime university, I, I one think that we were doing a lot of opening up new health clubs. And I mean, we were traveling all the time. And while, being young and traveling across the country is pretty awesome. I knew that it’s taxing also, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the pace. And so I, I thought that distance learning could be an interesting Opportunity for me to kind of offer something distinctive to the organization, to the company that we didn’t have that capability at the time. And so I, I decided to get my master’s in adult education and focus on instructional design. And I wanted to do that. In the same environment that I wanted to build. And so I chose Capella the school to do that. I was like, okay, if I, if I’m going to try to build some type of, computer based training distance learning for the company as we grow, I should probably experience it as. And I don’t, we didn’t have any tuition reimbursement plan or anything like That so I can miss my wife to let me, put some of our own duckets towards it. And so, yeah, it’s I’m really glad I did did it because it completely changed or it offered a new perspective as to how I, I coach others. How I, I influence the organization. So, even at that time, I didn’t know that I wanted to go into HR leadership particularly, even at this level, at that time. But it has served me really well throughout my career.

    Chris Dardis: 

    That is great. So yeah, in a leadership position with the number of individuals who you need to lead and inspire every day, is it, is there some advice that maybe came from a parent or a mentor that has stood the test of time that you still think about on a daily basis with how you show up as a leader?

    Kendall Herrall: 

    Well, it sounds cliche, but my father was. I mean, he was my hero, in, in many, many ways. And he always had a saying that was if I could just bring others along and, and he used that in so many parts of his life, whether it was, everything’s giving, he would be the deacon that had a his wagon they’re loaded up with, with groceries, taken to the people that were, that were at home and sick and shut-ins or eat, no, we drive up and down the highway and he’d fire up one of his favorite cigars or his pipe. And we drive up and down the highway and, we talk about grown man stuff and he pulled people out of this. And he did it just because he, he felt like he was on this earth to help people. And I think it while you probably won’t see me driving up and down the highway, pulling people out of ditches. I certainly have applied that in my leadership style, in that I nothing makes me happier. Then helping other people achieve what they want out apply for it, even if it’s just, out of, out of their career or on the baseball field or on the basketball court. Like I think it’s, it’s found its way and pretty, many aspects of my life.

    Chris Dardis: 

    Yeah, that’s great. And as a father, I’m sure you’ve passed that onto your kiddos as well.

    Kendall Herrall: 

    well. we’ll see. We’ll see what takes Chris.

    Chris Dardis: 

    Yeah, no kidding. No kidding. So, with w through your career, there’s always defining moments that I feel like individuals have in their career where it’s maybe a left turn when you were expecting a right turn where it seemed like things weren’t necessarily going the way they were supposed to, but in retrospect, in looking back, maybe is the best thing that could have happened. any situations like that with you?

    Kendall Herrall: 

    Oh, wow. When, I mean, there are many, I, I think the the most significant was leaving lifetime. Most of my best friends were in work there and many friends that are still there. It was very, it was kind of safe, I was at that point in my career, I think where I felt if I’m really going to spread my wings, even more for myself than anyone. I really need to figure out how I do this without that that safety, you? know, And I, I needed to be around other people, other leaders, other organizations, I was really starting to get inspired and becoming a student of culture and it’s, it’s tough to really see and feel and understand that unless you have the chance to immerse yourself in others other cultures. And so that’s what I did. It wasn’t always great. But I learned, I definitely learned what was important to me as a professional and as a leader.

    Chris Dardis: 

    And what, what is that? What is that when you talk about what’s important to you as a professional and as a leader?

    Kendall Herrall: 

    I think part of it was finding, finding places where I felt comfortable to bring my whole self. And I know we’ve we say that, that phrase now that maybe again can be a little cliche, but like, you know what I mean by that is, as a as a black leader? At the level that I, at this point I knew I wanted to attain I’ve always I’ve always wanted to make sure that I could get to the point in my career where I feel like everyone, like all of me can come to work where I don’t have to. I’m not putting stress or weight on myself about showing up the way I think other people want or need me to show up, but rather showing up as my true, authentic self and thriving. In that type of environment, and, some, some organizations are, are pretty focused on people being in line and fitting into a culture. And, while I don’t know that I wasn’t able to articulate it well, earlier through my career, I think as I’ve realized is that. I want to contribute to a culture. Like I want to be, I want to be this kind of unique oddly shaped puzzle piece that you can’t find because maybe it was under the table or somewhere, but, but once you find it and you put it in there’s this, like this beautiful picture and I want to be part of that picture, not just another tile piece that can be easily entertained.

    Chris Dardis: 

    well said, I like that. If you would, I’d love for you to share a story that you’ve shared with me before. We’re about a week away from one of our overseas HR labs and We they’ve been going on for about eight years. And so eight years ago you were a guest in the audience. I think you were working for Amy at the time, I believe. And we had a really cool panel where one of the leaders was the CHR all of caribou at the time. Would you, would you share that story with us?

    Kendall Herrall: 

    absolutely. Absolutely. So, I, I went to that HR lab event and I th the HR leader at the town was talking about they had just completed the first acquisition with Einstein. Bagels and The topic was around culture and how, how she was starting to think about how do I, how do we bring these two disparate cultures together and create new. And I leaned over to the person that I was at the event with, and I said that’s the job I want. And I said, I’m going to, I’m going to have it some day. And now mostly. That’s me throwing something into the universe. Let’s see what happens.

    Chris Dardis: 

    yeah,

    Kendall Herrall: 

    But what that, what that started for me is I found this really interesting connection between I, I really enjoyed MNA work. And coincidentally, at the time I was working on a divestiture at AMIA and I was really enjoying what I was learning from that work. So it was kind of timely. And then it was this connection to a brand that I’ve always found inspiration. And I was like, oh my God. If this, if this could come together, a brand that I love doing work, that I really enjoy, that could really be magical. And so, I just At every opportunity, I take a look at press releases or I throw a, throw a Google alerts in there just to get, get fed some passive information around caribou. And and I S I would regularly tell stories even about times when I was working on, any type of work at lifetime or otherwise another organization. And I would sit in the caribou a lot of the times, and I don’t, I don’t know what it was about the space, but those little coffee shops always, created some type of inspiration in me. So,

    Chris Dardis: 

    Same.

    Kendall Herrall: 

    and so here I am.

    Chris Dardis: 

    Ah, that’s great. You threw it out into the universe. Well, I love it. I love that. We are a little bit a part of that story. That’s cool. So a takeaway question as a, as we’re going to ask each of our guests that that joined us on our podcast is. What is something that was made possible in your professional life? Because of someone else you you’ve talked about mentor, you’ve talked about parents, but we need help along the ways, similar to what you said, how your dad said, take people along with you. How has that shown up in your life?

    Kendall Herrall: 

    So I would say. There’s a, there was a guy at our church. His name was Don baker and Mr. Baker was gosh, I mean, I was kind of young, so I didn’t really know his profession other than he, he had a couple of small businesses. He was he was involved with politics, the local state and politics in Iowa. And ride when I was graduating college. I, I was really wanting to play baseball and, I was getting enough attention to be maybe a little dangerous, but not, but not enough for it to be real meaningful. And, I, and so I was kind of floundering a little bit on what I was going to do and Mr. Baker was he was pivotal in helping me get an academic scholarship at Iowa state. And so, I was the recipient of the George Washington. Carver scholarship was a full ride scholarship there, and, college was going to be on my own dime. My parents, they, while they. We were just, middle-class enough to maybe to whisper that we were middle class to somebody, nothing that we wanted to, hang a hat on, but we but we were fine, we, we never wandered from much, but my, they didn’t they didn’t have the means to pay for college for myself, for my older sister. And so. That’s the hope was that athletics was going to be a way for that to happen for me. I happened to do well in school but I never contemplated the thought of an academic scholarship and it took someone to see something in me to to nominate me for a word like that, that, I mean, it changed my life? And so, Well college back then. Wasn’t the same financial burden that it is for a lot of students today. It still was significant. I mean, oh, owing a lot when you have nothing, it’s still a lot to owe. So I mean, it was, it was a blessing and I for that reason, I could never. You can never repay someone for doing that because it’s even greater than him writing a check and paying for my, my school for him to put his name, be willing to put his name and his reputation on, this, 17 year old kid out of Indianola de Moines, Iowa is pretty outstanding, so, I don’t know if he hadn’t, if he hadn’t done that. I don’t know. I don’t know what I would be doing.

    Chris Dardis: 

    Wow. Wow. Thank you. All right. So as a first guest what we want to offer to you is a 32nd kind of brag track around what you’re working on. Now, what’s coming up with caribou. Are there any positions that you’re, you want our audience to go out and apply for? What? So 30 seconds, it’s all yours. You Get to, you get to tell us whatever you’d like.

    Kendall Herrall: 

    Yeah. well, for all those people that walk into a coffee shop and wish that they didn’t have their

    Chris Dardis: 

    Okay.

    Kendall Herrall: 

    12 hour days, their 14 hour days, and having to answer emails at home and look, if you want to place to work with awesome people be yourself, serve our incredible guests. I mean, really consider caribou. It’s incredible how many career change folks that we have that are running our coffee shops and it’s it’s an incredible gig too. Because our guests are so awesome. They’re so cool. They they, they they adopt, their baristas, our team members, the GM’s in such incredible ways. And so, Know, just check us out and if somebody tell them to check us out, Terrible coffee, caribou coffee.com.

    Chris Dardis: 

    coffee.com cruise page. I love it. Kendall, Harold, thank you so much for joining us.

    Kendall Herrall: 

    To see you, buddy. Thank you so much.

    Chris Dardis: 

    Me too. So, uh, thanks for joining us, everybody. Please make sure to subscribe, rate and review people, make it possible podcast on apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your episodes. We have so many great guests joining us every month who are also top notch leaders, just like Kendall. So please join us next month for more of these pivotal stories and. The road to success has many twists and turns and is paved by people you encounter along the way, regardless of what you’re trying to accomplish in your company or in your career. Remember that it’s people who make it possible. Thank you.

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